To Doug Schneider,

I will be taking delivery of a pair of Revel Ultima Salon2s next week. Thanks for the info you provided to my earlier questions.

The Salon2s will be in a system that consists of the following:

  • McIntosh MC 501 amps
  • Pass Labs XP-10 preamplifier
  • Linn Akurate DS player
  • VPI Classic turntable

My only concern, at least for now, is whether the 501s will be enough to really drive the Revels at loud levels. Room size is 20’ x 25’ with 12’ ceilings and a somewhat open floorplan.

My dealer was talking to me about the new Anthem M1 class-D monos. He said they were sounding really great, and that was in comparison to the top-of-the-line Mark Levinson monos. Have you had the chance to listen to the Anthems yet?

I’m going crazy waiting for these speakers as these will probably have to last me a long time. If you have any comments or suggestions I would welcome them, as you have lived with the Revels for a while.

Thanks again,
Mark Powers

I don’t think you have much to worry about. McIntosh’s MC501 mono amp is an interesting design in that it has an output transformer and output taps like you’d see on a tube amp. I don’t have one on hand, but I believe that it has 8-, 4-, and 2-ohm taps. You use the taps appropriate for the load. In the case of the Salon2s, I would try the 4-ohm taps because that’s the average impedance of the speaker below 500Hz. But regardless of the taps you use, McIntosh says that the MC501 can deliver 500W (into any of the loads), which should be more than enough for the Salon2s. I use a Bryston 4B SST2 that’s rated at 300Wpc into 8 ohms and that’s plenty, at least for me.

If the MC501 are still not enough, the most likely candidate would be the M1 mono amp, which Anthem claims can deliver continuous output of 1000W into an 8-ohm load or 2000W into a 4-ohm load. To understand how that translates to volume levels, it’s important to understand that in order to get 3dB more output from loudspeakers there needs to be a doubling of amplifier power. Therefore, going from 500W to 1000W would result in 3dB higher output, and 1000W to 2000W would give you another 3dB. In other words, if the speaker was a constant 8-ohm load the M1 would give you 3dB higher output, and with a 4-ohm constant load it would be 6dB. On the other hand, I’m not sure the Salon2s could take the 2000W that the M1 can deliver.

But that’s thinking too far ahead for the time being. I’m pretty sure your MC501s will work splendidly with the Salon2s, so try that first. If not, then look around for a more powerful amp and definitely have the M1 on your list. . . . Doug Schneider